Priest and Founder (1858-1916)
+ Charles was born to wealthy family in Strasbourg, France. After a rocky military career, he made a name for himself working as a cartographer in Morocco.
+ Charles experiencing a profound conversion and became a Trappist monk, although he later left the monastery. After spending time in Rome and the Holy Land, he was ordained a priest in 1901.
+ The year after his ordination, Charles returned to Morocco, in order to live among the poor nomadic tribes he had come to know during his years as a cartographer. He believed that he was called to imitate the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth and believed he could effectively spread the Gospel by simply living and witnessing to his faith.
+ Charles translated the gospels into the native language of the Tuareg people and worked on a lexicon he was never to complete. On December 1, 1916, he was killed by native insurrectionists.
+ Blessed Charles de Foucauld was canonized on May 15, 2022.
+ Charles had dreamed of sharing his vocation with others. Although this dream went unfulfilled, he succeeded in laying the foundation for what became the “spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld,” a group which today includes religious communities and institutes for both laity and priests.
For prayer and reflection
“The moment I realized that God existed, I knew that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone . . . Faith strips the mask from the world and reveals God in everything. It makes nothing impossible and renders meaningless such words as anxiety, danger, and fear, so that the believer goes through life calmly and peacefully, with profound joy- like a child, hand in hand with his mother..”—Saint Charles de Foucauld
On this day we also remember Saint Robert Southwell. Although he was born in Reformation-era England, he was raised as a Catholic and entered the Jesuits in 1580. Following his ordination, he began a clandestine ministry in England, serving persecuted Catholics. He is best-known as a poet and hymn writer and his poetry was widely distributed during and after his life. Scholars acknowledge that his writing influenced later authors, including William Shakespeare, John Donne, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins. In 1592, he was arrested for the crime of being a priest and he was subjected to inhuman cruelty and deprivations. After three years imprisonment, he was executed on February 21, 1595. Saint Robert was canonized in 1970 with other martyrs of England and Wales.
who have taught your Church to keep all the heavenly commandments
by love of you as God and love of neighbor;
grant that, practicing the works of charity
after the example of blessed Charles
we may be worthy to be numbered among the blessed in your Kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For Those Who Practiced Works of Mercy)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.